Department of Labor finds Houston-area manufacturer failed to correct 2022 hazards; yields 16 repeat, serious violations, $298K in penalties
HOUSTON – The U.S. Department of Labor has cited a Stafford engine component manufacturer again for failing to correct safety hazards that caused an employee’s finger amputation in March 2022.
Inspectors with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration returned to Air Starter Components Inc. in March 2023 as part of a follow-up investigation after a worker’s hand was caught in a polishing machine that lacked required machine safety guards.
The follow-up investigation led OSHA to cite the company for two repeat violations for failing to adjust bench grinders properly and for not posting 2022 OSHA injury and illness logs as required. Inspectors also identified 14 serious violations for hazards related to a spray booth; unguarded projected shaft ends, belts and pulleys on a horizontal lathe; air compressors operating at more than 30 pounds per square inch; electrical equipment used beyond its safe limits and without proper grounding; exposed electrical wires; and extension cords used in place of required permanent wiring. OSHA proposed $127,187 in penalties after its follow-up inspection.
In addition, the agency issued failing to abate citations to Air Starter Components for not correcting the hazards identified in the earlier inspection and for not including a 2022 recordable injury on its OSHA 300 log. While the company had entered into an agreement with OSHA to address its violations, no abatement documentation was provided. The agency assessed the company with an additional $171,063 in penalties for failing to remedy its 2022 violations.
“Rather than correcting the hazards we identified in 2022, Air Starter Components was still operating equipment without required safety guards and doing so resulted in another worker suffering a debilitating injury,” explained OSHA Area Director Mark Briggs in Houston. “Complying with safety standards is not optional. Employers who fail to follow required procedures will be held accountable.”
Founded in 1988, Air Starter Components Inc. manufactures and services air starters and other engine components and parts sold through dealers on six continents. Headquartered in Stafford, the company also operates sales and service centers in New Orleans and Oklahoma City.